Callen and Clif Bar Think Maybe Kids’ Imaginations Aren’t So Magical If They’re Hungry

By Patrick Coffee 

Kids: there’s no end to the crazy things they can dream up! Or maybe not.

A new campaign for Clif Bar argues that maybe the ideas that are constantly bouncing around their still-developing brains are actually kind of dull … if those stomachs are empty, that is.

In the first spot, a little girl is more than a little skeptical regarding her dad’s claim that this old box is actually a spaceship that will go anywhere beyond her own garage.


We found this a little sad, because we had to imagine that she got more creative once powered by the “100% good, organic-ingredient-fueled nutrition in our Clif Kid products,” as the YouTube copy puts it.

The work is more significant, you’ll note, because Clif Bar’s agency partner is Callen, the always-indie Austin-based Wieden + Kennedy spinoff launched two years ago by Niklas Lindström, Holly Petitjean and Craig Allen. (The former is now at Cheil Nordic in Sweden.)

Directing the campaign is O Positive’s David Shane, who has helmed a good bit of notable work for brands like Apple, ESPN, the Atlantic, and Supercuts.

The next spot may be even more dour, as it features three kids whose idea of a good time is going the fuck to sleep. (Are they parents of toddlers?)

Have to appreciate the dark humor, especially that last line.

One may also note a sort-of conceptual similarity to BBDO’s “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” work for Snickers, but this stuff is a bit more unusual/downbeat since they are children right at the age when innocence bleeds into questioning every damn thing.

“With these spots we looked to buck against the trends of traditional kid product advertising, grounding our ads in the daily realities of raising kids instead of the usual idealized world of impossibly happy kids with boundless energy surrounded by perfect parents,” Allen said in the press quote.

He gets it. The mom in the second spot just needs some of that magic juice hidden in her purse.


Client: Clif Bar
Agency: Callen, Austin, Texas
CCO: Craig Allen
MD: Holly Petitjean
Creative Operations Manager: Hannah Jones
AD: Matt Nall
Copywriter: Kyle Davis
Senior producer: Chuy Hernandez

Production: O Positive
Director: David Shane
Executive producer: Ralph Laucella
Line producer: Ken Licata
Production supervisor: Luke Flegar
DP: Stuart Dryburgh

Casting, LA: RMB Casting
Casting, NY: Beth Melsky Casting

Editorial: MackCut
Editor: Gavin Cutler
Executive producer: Gina Pagano

Audio Post: TBD Post
Mix: Dusty Albertz
Audio producer: Kate Eads

Finishing: KEVIN
Executive creative director/partner: Tim Davies
Managing director/EP: Sue Troyan
Flame finishing lead: Anthony Petitti
Visual effects producer: Andrew Cowderoy